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Young Americans Enhanced, Original recording reissued
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Remastered Fts : "Fame","Can You Hear Me",'Win", "Fascination", "Across the Universe"
By 1975, when Young Americans was originally released, people were accustomed to being surprised by David Bowie. Even so, his decision to immerse himself in the traditions of Philadelphia soul raised eyebrows to heights rarely witnessed before or since. In retrospect, Young Americans occupies a reasonably logical place in the Bowie canon, containing both faint echoes of the glam excess of the preceding Diamond Dogs and subtle hints of Bowie's encroaching cocaine paranoia that would result, a year later, in the compellingly deranged Station To Station. It has never been in Bowie's nature to do things by halves, and he went about making Young Americans with the demented energy that has propelled his career to such towering altitudes and such horrifying depths (guest musicians included John Lennon, Luther Vandross and David Sanborn). The quality control was certainly uneven--the album contains such great moments as the title track, "Fame" and "Win", and a lot of wishy-washy fillers, even by Bowie's standards. But, taken as a whole, Young Americans remains one of the most influential records of Bowie's influential career. --Andrew Mueller
Top Customer Reviews
The influence of American music had been hinted at on previous albums such as "Aladdin Sane" and "Diamond Dogs", albums which have a rougher R'n'B slant to them, think of "1984" from the latter and you have a clear indication of what was to come.
For this recording Bowie had assembled a bona fide rhythm and blues band for the making of the album, which included Willy Weeks on bass along with Andy Newmark on drums and on saxophone the Jazz legend David Sanborn.
The recording sessions of this album was split into 3 main sessions with 2 of them in Philadelphia and a last minute session taking place in New York with the late John Lennon taking part on 2 tracks adding vocals and guitar to "Across the Universe" and "Fame".
The title track starts off the album, this has at it's heart a frantic shrieking alto saxophone played by Sanborn this is introduced by a run on the piano by long serving Bowie side-man Mike Garson which is played off the sound of Latin flavoured percussion this adds the beat with Luther Vandross leading the backing singers, Bowie croons about everyday life in America after Watergate.
The groove is urgent and compulsive, with Bowie even borrowing a catch phrase from the Beatles when the backing singers sing the line "I heard the news today, oh boy" at a crucial moment, but the killer line is when Bowie sobs "Ain't there one damn song that can make break down and cry".Read more ›
The 5.1 mix surprised me. It is not perfect and I like it that way. Luther Vandross's back-up vocals come mostly from the rear speakers and you can hear him much more clearly. The congas on "Young Americans" are a little loud for the mix, but it makes the whole experience seem more like a live studio recording instead of a carefully remastered remix. In fact, Bowie mentioned in the liner notes that he liked recording this album with all the instruments playing at once while he sang. There are other surprises. On this DVD you can hear John Lennon speak briefly after one song and the finale of "Fame" has each word of 'fame' descending going around the room from speaker to speaker, but the loud shout of 'fame!' before, 'what's your name, what's your name, what's your name...' is missing. It catches you!
The Dick Cavett interview is a treat, with Bowie sniffing and wiping his nose while fidgeting with his cane. So he did a lot of coke during this period. Who cares? The album is a perfect choice for surround sound. And that sound will vary from system to system.
Okay, DTS 96/24 is as good as it can ever get on a DVD-Video disc, but it would have been infinitely superior in lossless. Given the EMI Signature series releases have been superb, in DVD-A/V format, it seems strange to me that we are robbed of High Resolution mixes for this title.
Kudos for the Dick Cavett show - but again, strike a point for missing off "Footstompin'" and strike another point for claiming it is "lost". It isn't.
It's still doing the rounds on various bootleg sites in high quality with even the Audio at least as good as on display here. Still, it's worthwhile IMHO.
Final grump from me is the SERIOUSLY ANNOYING LOUD SNATCH OF THE TITLE TRACK IN THE MAIN MENU (see how irritating it is being shouted at? That's what menu music as loud as this is - digital shouting. Bad form.)
Moving on to the good points....the mix in 5.1 is truly outstanding. The title track kicks in with what is - at first - a disconcerting reverb on the drums, but TV has done a superb job & has recaptured the feel of '74 era bowie in a truly outstanding manner. The BV's are predominantly to the rear channels (listen carefully, as this album was the now legendary Luther Vandross' first serious session outing) and the main vocals are not isolated in the centre, but in L/R with the centre seemingly used for a vocal slapback effect. It works, and it works well.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
few albums are this good. alexander o'neil can be heard on backing vocals throughout. so soulful and heartfelt yet the groove is so delicious! Read morePublished 1 month ago by james waite
I have always been a huge fan of David Bowie's work, but I never particularly liked Young Americans. Read morePublished 2 months ago by P. Phillips
Cannot say enogh about Bowie, as gutted when he passed. He was my growing up icon. so started buying CD's as all my albums were knicked a long time ago, so require a few more to... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Suzanne Woods
This is the Phily ‘plastic soul’ album that broke David Bowie in America and sounds very different to any other he ever put out. Read morePublished 2 months ago by John F